When I saw Mula sa Buwan‘s teaser a few months ago, I immediately decided I’m going to watch this production without even knowing yet what it was about. It was THAT pretty and catchy. I followed their Facebook page, watched out for updates, and panicked a little when they released show dates and realized it was only going to run ONE weekend.
ONE. WEEKEND. Imagine that.
Fortunately, we were able to secure tickets for its closing night last Sunday (December 4), and let me tell you–it was everything I wanted and more.
Mula sa Buwan is a retelling of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, set against the backdrop of 1940’s Manila. In this adaptation, Cyrano is a brave, young ROTC cadet respected among his peers, and Roxane is his poetry-loving childhood friend–the reason he learned how to fight. Christian, meanwhile, is a handsome probinsyano who ends up being part of Cyrano’s troop.
The plot is simple enough. Ugly, insecure Cyrano is in love with his friend Roxane, who falls for Christian after literally one glance. (“Sulyap? Isa?” was probably one of the most laugh out loud lines in the play that night.) But because Cyrano is certain Roxane will never love someone as ugly as himself, he follows through with her wish to keep Christian safe, as the handsome young man is supposed to join Cyrano’s troop. Roxane asks that Cyrano tell Christian she expects a letter from him.
Cyrano later realizes Christian lacked intellect, so he strikes a deal with the promdi, saying he’ll let Christian “borrow” his words so he could write a decent letter to Roxane. The charade goes on, and, well… you know how things like these end. (If you don’t you’d best check out the original material for a clue.)
Mula Sa Buwan‘s music was sublime. I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised, knowing that William Elvin Manzano (Maxie The Musicale) was behind it. Maxie‘s songs were lovely, and I’m still waiting for a rerun, but that’s beside the point. Manzano writes music that speaks from the heart, and sometimes it carries with it a solid one-two punch that’ll have you bawling in tears and clutching your heart in pain. Ang Sabi Nila from the musical’s second act was just beautiful and excruciating, GODkillmenow levels of pain. (Extra note: I felt kilig hearing familiar strains from Kupal and Pelikula in Manifesto and gosh I don’t know the title of that other song, but it was there, I swear. I ended up listening to the Maxie album two days after seeing Mula Sa Buwan and ugh. I need a rerun and a cast recording now.)
The actors were brilliant, but I now have a special place in my heart for Nicco Manalo, who I first saw perform in PETA’s 3 Stars and a Sun early this year. He played Cyrano with such bravado and wit and vulnerability that you can’t help but feel awed by his mere presence on stage. He made me laugh, he made me cry, he threw my heart into the wringer and I left the theatre wanting to give him a great big hug for an excellent job. (He was also credited for assistant direction so, ano na lang tayong mga mortal, diba?) Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see him after the show so I guess my best bet would be next year’s rerun. 😛 Nicco, if you stumble upon this somehow, please know that you have a fan! <3 I mean, you were already amazing in 3 Stars but you had to go one-up yourself with this performance, Jesus Christ, let a girl live.
KL Dizon‘s voice was sunshine and a storm at key points in the musical. Sometimes I felt like she’d sing and flowers will start to grow (Awit ni Roxane was just bittersweet and all sorts of lovely), and sometimes her voice was so devastating and haunting and GOD I don’t even know what to do with all my feelings after that. I belatedly realized too, that I’d already seen her as Urduja in Tanghalang Pilipino’s Manhid The Musical last year, oops! (That bit of info is important to me because Fred Lo, who played Urduja’s lover Radya, was also part of the show as Christian. He wasn’t our Christian, though. Sad.)
Only not really, not so much, because Edward Benosa also delivered a great performance as Christian. He lent an adorable and macho air to the character (if that combination was even possible), and made me swoon and root for him too, even if my heart continued to ache for Cyrano. There was a particular scene where he made me laugh so hard I was practically kicking my feet up in the air (don’t worry folks, I was in the front row, no one was harmed). Great job!
(That being said, I still want to see Fred Lo because I’ve seen him in three shows already and I love him. <3 I also want to catch Boo Gabunada, Nicco Manalo’s alternate as Cyrano. ^_^)
I loved the set design, the theatre within the theatre. It was a bit minimalist, but the key pieces were functional and I like that. Sorry, I geek out about functionality a lot when it comes to sets, hihi. Not all productions I’ve seen have them, but when they do, the ingenuity always amazes me.
Something they might want to improve on though, would be the length of the show. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t even notice time go by while watching it, but the beginning seemed to be all over the place for me. It wasn’t until Ikaw that I felt the story actually began, and everything was great from then on.
So this now reads more like a spazz than a review, but whatever. Bottomline is: I absolutely loved the show, and I will go see it again in February, bring friends and all, because seeing this magnificent show just once isn’t enough.
Mula Sa Buwan, Black Box Productions’ colorful, poignant retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac, is a feast for the senses. The show needs a bit of polish here and there, but it was damn near perfect, and I cannot wait for its return in February. I’ll bring a box of Kleenex next time. Or maybe a hand towel, for all my tears. Congratulations, everyone. It was a magnificent show! <3
P.S. I hope there’s a cast recording in the works, too!